(29 September – 1 October 2000, France)
Hundreds of trade unionists and workers' representatives from 15 countries came together for a conference in Oren, Turkey, in May 1999 to discuss the main problems that the workers' movement is faced with. In the final declaration of the conference they said: "In order to achieve mutual exchange of opinion amongst trade unionists and establish common stances in the trade union movement, our conference draws attention to the necessity of organising similar initiatives in different countries in the future."
In the past year since this conference the attacks of capital on the working classes and their unions have intensified on an international scale, thus making the need for a common stance and struggle more urgent. Basic rights and freedoms gained by the working class as a result of decades of struggle and sacrifice have become the target of a more open attack not only in dependent countries but also in the metropolis of capitalism. The workers of advanced capitalist countries, where welfare state policies were implemented until recently, are now faced with a new and harsher struggle to defend the rights they gained 50 years ago. The workers of underdeveloped and dependent countries are being pushed more into misery, with their agriculture and industry being destroyed, their national sovereignty being violated, and being pushed towards colonisation.
Within the framework of the "globalisation" of the politics of capitalism, the attacks carried out by international monopolies, big capitalist states and financial institutions across the world are focused on a few main issues.
Privatisation is no longer an exception involving a particular sector or a country; it has rather become a generalised attack concerning all sectors of the economy and the workers of all countries. Privatisation and relocating (moving industries to countries with lower wage costs) contribute to mass unemployment. Capitalists, the very creators of unemployment, use it more overtly as a threat against the working class. Despite astronomic increases in the profits of bosses and big monopolies, the workers are faced with wage freezes and wage cuts, casualisation and lawlessness, with the excuse of having a greater competitive power in the international arena.
The portion of public spending in state budgets is being shrunk and the social rights fought for and won over the past fifty years are being eliminated. Demands for a shorter working week are either ignored or shorter hours implemented against the workers. In addition to all this, capital wants to further weaken trade unions (with it the workers' movement) which have already lost influence and membership because of the attacks of capital and the collaboration of the conciliatory trade union leaderships.
The attacks of capital on the working class are not only economic ones; they are accompanied by the violation of political rights and freedoms. Reactionary measures, banning of strikes and demonstrations, the increasing fascism of the state apparatus, racism, xenophobia, etc. are commonplace in many countries, including the developed western countries. This proves that not only acquiring democracy but also defending it depend on the struggle of the working class.
It is in these conditions that as workers' representatives and trade unionists on the side of the working class we decided to come together in France and take a step further in discussing the problems of the struggle against the attacks of capital and establishing and improving the positions of resistance of the trade union movement. We believe that this meeting in Europe has a particular significance because of the central and determining role that this region has always played in the international workers' movement.
In this conference, we will be discussing the following together with the French workers who forced capital to retreat as a result of a big strike and an act of resistance in 1995, and who have given important morale support to the working people with their actions which marked a new period for the international workers' movement.
Globalisation: Its economic and social consequences
- What are the developments that have given birth to it
(an analysis of the present day capitalism)
The effects of globalisation on the working class: privatisation, deregulation, casualisation, use of women and child labour as a source of cheap labour, unemployment, etc.
- The demand for a shorter working week.
Trade unions: To reclaim our unions as centres of struggle against the attacks of capital on them to make them non-functional and to transform them into an apparatus of class collaboration. To oppose the criminalisation of class-based trade unionism and to advocate international solidarity. The formation of an international committee to co-ordinate relations.
We call upon all trade unionists, workers' representatives and combative workers who uphold the flag of struggle against the attacks of capital on the basis of defending the interests of the working class to participate in this conference, discuss their problems and contribute to the initiatives of establishing a common struggle and organisation.
The Conference will start on Friday, 30 September at 14.00 and end on Sunday, 1 October at 14.00. Participation fee: 700 French francs (£70 or $110) including accommodation and food.
Roger Nadaud (CGT, former General Secretary, Health Workers
Jan luc Salle (CGT-SDEN, Branch Cmte., Teachers Union-Paris)
Michelle Plas (CGT, Branch Cmte., Health Workers Fed.-Essone)
Robert Ertel (CGT, Paris delegate, Bank Workers Union-Val d'Oise)
Joseph Lop (CGT, Technician, Construction Workers Union - Marseilles)
Pascal Bontemps (CGT, Regional Secretary, Construction Workers Union - Charante)
Daniel Leclerc (CGT, former General Secretary, Air France Workers Un., Transport, Airlines -Seine St. Denis)
Helene Dussoliet (CGT, Teachers Fed.- Haute Savoie)
R. Noelle Belliere (CGT, Energy, Electric, Gas, EDF-GDF - Paris)
Jacky Morvan (CGT, Health Fed. - Seine et Marne)
Robert Guillemiont (CGT, Tobacco sector, Gen. Sec. SEITA - Allier)
Roger Guidel (CGT, , Energy, Electric, Gas, EDF-GDF - Ile et Vilaine)
Jean Guillere (CGT, Metal worker - Val d'Oise)
Eric Souchet (CGT-SNES, Rouen Academy)
Roland Diagne (CGT-SNES, Teachers Union, Northern Regional Cmte.)
Sabine Leidig (DGB, Karlsruhe Chair)
Bernd Rixinger (HBV, Bank, Insurance and Commercial Workers Union, Stuttgart Chair)
Werner Pfennig (IG Median)
Horst Gobrecht (IG Medien, Wiesbaden Chair)
Roland Sauer (Bosch shop steward)
Jürgen Gulden (IG-Chemie (Chemical), Freundenberg shop steward)
Helmut Schimitt (IG-Chemie, Freundenberg shop steward)
Franz Schütz (DPG (Postal Workers Un.), Bayern Youth rep.)
Torsten Wenderoht (IG-Metall, Kassel)
Tibor Iharosi (IG-Metall, Regensburg)
Melanie Krüger (Marrlin shop steward, Göppingen)
Zeynep Akarcay (Construction Workers and Cleaners Un., Düsseldorf)
Wilhelm Frohn (ÖTV, Kassel)
Murat Tokmak (General Sec., DISK - Confederation of Revolutionary Workers
Ismail Hakki Onal (President, General Workers Union, DISK)
Sabri Topcu (President, TUMTIS - Transport Workers Union, TURK-IS)
Atilay Aycin (President, Civil Aviation Union, TURK-IS)
Faruk Ustun (General Sec., Office, Commerce Workers Union, TURK-IS)
Orhan Simsek (Organising Sec., Miners Union, TURK-IS)
Cetin Yelken (Istanbul Branch Chair, Textile Workers Union, TURK-IS)
Ali Akdag (Istanbul Branch Chair, Road Workers Union, TURK-IS, and rep. of Istanbul Workers Unions Platform - IISP)
Ibrahim Kudis (Exec. Cmte., Confederation of Public Employees Unions - KESK)
Vicdan Baykara (President, Service Sector and Municipalities Workers Union, KESK)
Cevher Tosun (President, Health Workers Union, KESK)
Bedri Tekin (General Sec., Energy, Construction and Road Workers Union, KESK)
Kemal Unal (General Sec., Teacher Union, KESK)
Valentin Ruiz (CCOO, Workers Commissions Confederation, Madrid Exec.
Juan Olaso (CCOO, Vice-Chair, Teachers Union)
Elisa Perez (CCOO, Health Union)
Rosa Redondo (CCOO, Health Union)
Dolores Val (CCOO, Health Union, Secretary, Hospital Workers Cmte.)
Maria Antonia Martin (Sociolog)
Jesus Martinez (CCOO, Office Workers Union Exec. Cmte.)
Fidel Jimenez (CCOO, Metal Workers Union)
Jimmy Nolan (Chair, Liverpool Dockers Shop Stewards Cmte.)
Tekin Kartal (Secretary, North London Textile Branch, Transport & General Workers Union-TGWU)
Jan Vandeputte (member of Public Employees Union, Anvers)
Stan Vanhulle (former Renault Vilwoorde union rep., member of Workers Rights Cmte.)
Filip Desmet (Textile worker, FGTB rep.)
Bob Roeck (Caterpillar FGTB rep., Charleroi)
Manfred Gross (GLB, Chair, Trade Union Left Bloc)
Oswal Broz (Trade Union Left Bloc, Deputy Chair, ÖGB-Secretary)
Robert Hobek (Communication Workers Union, Exec. Cmte., OGB (GLB)
Paolo Paolacci (National Secretary, Movement for a Class Based Trade
Maurice Poletto (Turin Region Trade Unions Secretariat)
Franco Basciani (SMUV, Foreign workers rep.)
Patricio Aldaz (President, General Workers Union of Ecuador - UGTE)
Enrique Barros (General Secreatry, Oil Workers Fed. - FETRAPEC)
Luis Mazon (General Secretary, National Union of Public Health Workers - SUNTRAMPS)
Otto Ramos (Chair of Shop Stewards Cmte., Los Rios Electric)
Oswaldo Urgiles (Chair of Shop Stewards Cmte., Cement Guapan)
Nelson Orazo (Chair of Shop Stewards Cmte., Quito municipality)
Jose Chusin (Chair, Pichincha Region Trade Unions Fed. - FUOS)
Luis Munoz (Chair of Shop Stewards Cmte., Petro-Industrial - CETRAPIN)
Gonzalo Velazques (General Secretary, Quito Municipal Trade Unions Assoc.)
Jorge Galindo (Exec. Cmte., Oil Workers Union - USO)
Ali Bendris (Construction Workers Union)
Mukram Moussavi (Construction Workers Union)
Gason Azoua (President, Confederation of Workers Trade Unions - CSTB)
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